Sioux Falls (9-10, 1-9 NSIC) showed its fighting spirit Friday night against Minnesota-Crookston (8-9, 4-6 NSIC), but the Golden Eagles came away with a hard-fought four-set win 15-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15, in front of 152 fans at the Lysaker Gymnasium on Friday night in Crookston, Minn.
Freshman Kellee Griese posted a double-double for the Cougars, tallying 11 kills and 12 digs while hitting .167 in the loss. Chanda Goedken just missed a double-dip, with nine kills and 10 digs. Emily Johnson added 10 kills and six digs.
Junior libero Andrea Odbert tallied a match-best 19 digs. Junior setter Alexa Reed had 40 assists, two kills, seven digs and one block.
Brittany Looker led Crookston with 14 kills and 12 digs, hitting .306.
The first set went Sioux Falls’ way, 25-15 thanks to a key four point run midway through the frame. The set went back-and-forth until the Cougars led 12-10, when they scored four straight points on two kills and an ace by Johnson coupled with a UMC attack error. The Cougars continued to pile on the points and closed out the set in style, 25-15 with a block by Samantha Lovell and Reed.
The Golden Eagles got out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but the Cougars stayed with them and took seven of the next 12 points to close the gap to 8-7 after consecutive kills by Griese and Goekden. UMC took over with a 4-0 run that included two aces, putting the Golden Eagles ahead 13-7 and forcing a Cougars timeout. USF fought back and cut the deficit to 17-14, but UMC closed out the frame with a 25-16 win. The Golden Eagles hit .208 in the set.
UMC claimed the third set, 25-21, hitting .341 in the process. The Golden Eagles ran out to a 4-0 lead, but the Cougars rallied to tie the set at 5-5 with a four-point run that included two kills by Griese. An identical four point spurt by the Golden Eagles made it 9-5 but the Cougars fought back again, tying the frame and then taking a 13-11 lead on an Odbert ace. USF led as late as the 16-15 mark, before the Golden Eagles took control of the set with a four point rally to take a 19-16 lead they would not relinquish. The Cougars got within two points at 22-20 but the Golden Eagles would clinch the frame 25-21 on a USF attack error.
The four set opened with a trio of multi-point blitzes. UMC went up 4-0 and the Cougars responded with six straight points of their own, highlighted by a huge Goedken kill to go in front 6-4. UMC then put five straight points on the scoreboard for the 9-6 advantage and quickly extended its lead to 17-10 to force a Cougars timeout. Out of the break, UMC held USF at bay and took the match with a 25-15 set victory.
USF won the total dig (65) and assist (45) categories. UMC held a 7-4 edge in blocks and a 6-5 lead in aces.
The Cougars close the weekend trip with a 3 p.m. CDT contest at Bemidji State on Saturday.